In southern Chile, the mussel industry generates more than 75.000 metric tons of shell 🐚 waste per year. Mussel shells are primarily composed of calcium carbonate (>95%), which is significantly higher than the average concentrations found in limestone in central Chile,where the cement industry is located.

By developing Pilcán, a mussel-based concrete which partially replaces cement in the mixture, I aimed at producing a more sustainable construction material. Through axial load testing, I developed several different mixtures to check the maximum amount of shells the material could have, according to resistance standards. My purpose was to generate a material with the lowest possible carbon footprint.

The material generated was tested in an hydraulic tile factory, obtaining favorable results, which allowed to verify and validate the use of the material on an industrial scale. To explore possible uses of the material, furniture, pots and lamps were developed, achieving positive results.

The final product was aimed at DIY-interested consumers, and consisted of a package of Pilcán with instructions for building their own constructions from a scratch, using an environmentally friendly material.

Pilcán was my undergraduate thesis project and was qualified with the maximum attainable grade.

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